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The wind in your hair, the smell of fresh cut grass filling your nostrils, the warm glow of the sun on your face – all of this and more awaits you on your next bicycle adventure. Of course, if the sting of rage from a stolen bike gets you first, you can forget about enjoying a sun-soaked afternoon atop two wheels.
Lock your bike up the right way, or you may be out of luck. Stolen bicycles are rarely returned. Learning how to lock your bike properly is the only way to make your bike secure and always where you left it. Here are some quick tips:
Choosing the Best Lock
If you choose a cheap lock, nothing else matters. A lock that can be snapped, broken, or picked within 30 seconds is basically worthless. U-locks are some of the best models available. They are durable, super thick, and their design doesn’t allow them to be picked. Many U-locks also have a cable attached for added security. Second to a U-lock, a resilient chain or set of metal bike cuffs are solid alternatives. Avoiding a simple dial padlock or thin chain is always a good idea!
Finding the Right Location
Now that you have the right lock, the location is important. If a thief sees you lock your bike to a rack and walk into a movie theater, they know they have about two hours before you return. Consider keeping your locked bike around the corner when you’ll be away for a while.
Bike racks near security cameras or storefronts where a thief won’t have a lot of time for themselves are ideal. You should always lock your bicycle against an immovable object – if a bike rack is not available, a metal fence post is the next best alternative. Small trees can be cut down and wooden posts can be pulled from the ground, so avoid locking your bike to one.
Placing the Lock Properly
Locking bikes properly is easy once you learn a few simple rules. First of all, never lock your bike through the wheel. A thief could simply remove the wheel and walk off with the rest of the bike. Second, don’t place the lock toward the ground. This gives a thief an opportunity to smash the lock against the pavement and break it.
An ideal lock placement is a U-lock that goes around one tire and the top of the frame. Filling as much of the open space inside a U-lock as possible leaves no room for a bottle jack, which is a common tool used by thieves to force the lock open. You may even want to use two U-locks when the bike rack will allow for it. One lock on each end of the bike all but ensures that it’s not going anywhere until you get back.
A bicycle that’s locked up properly is one that will last you for years. Invest in a sturdy lock and pay attention to where you secure it, and you can feel confident taking your bicycle almost anywhere.Ready to take your bike to new terrain? Join our Journey Club to uncover biking locations around the world and connect with other cyclists.
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